McWilliams last name popularity, history, and meaning

Find out how popular the last name McWilliams is in the United States and learn more about the meaning, history, and race and ethnic origin of people in America who are named McWilliams.

Meaning of McWilliams

Son of William, an English and Scottish patronymic surname.

McWilliams, like all of the last names we have data for, is identified by the U.S. Census Bureau as a surname which has more than 100 occurrences in the United States in the Decennial Census survey. The most recent statistics we have for the McWilliams surname is from the 2010 census data.

Popularity of McWilliams in America

McWilliams is the 1746th most popular name in America based on the data we have collected from the U.S. Census Bureau.

The McWilliams surname appeared 20,523 times in the 2010 census and if you were to sample 100,000 people in the United States, approximately 7 people would have the surname McWilliams.

We can also compare 2010 data for McWilliams to data from the previous census in 2000. The table below contains all of the statistics for both years in a side-by-side comparison.

2010 2000 Change (%)
Rank 1746 1628 6.99%
Count 20,523 20,135 1.91%
Proportion per 100k 6.96 7.46 -6.93%

The history of the last name McWilliams

The surname McWilliams has its origins in Scotland, emerging during the Middle Ages. It is a patronymic name, derived from the personal name "William," which itself is of Germanic origin, meaning "resolute protector." The prefix "Mc" or "Mac" is a Gaelic form meaning "son of," indicating that the name originally referred to the son of a man named William.

McWilliams is a common surname in the Scottish Highlands, particularly in areas such as Argyll, Ayrshire, and the Hebrides islands. It is thought to have originated in these regions, where the name can be traced back to the 12th and 13th centuries.

Historical records suggest that the McWilliams clan was associated with the powerful Clan Donald, one of the largest and most influential Scottish clans. The earliest known record of the name appears in the Ragman Rolls of 1296, which documented the Scottish barons who swore allegiance to King Edward I of England.

In the 16th century, a notable figure bearing the McWilliams name was Sir John McWilliams, a Scottish knight who fought alongside King James IV at the Battle of Flodden in 1513. Another prominent McWilliams was William McWilliams, born in 1642, who served as a Presbyterian minister and played a significant role in the Scottish Reformation.

As the centuries passed, the McWilliams surname spread throughout Scotland and beyond. In the 17th century, during the plantation of Ulster, many Scottish settlers, including those with the McWilliams name, migrated to Ireland, establishing roots in counties like Antrim and Down.

Notable McWilliams individuals include:

  1. Sir William McWilliams (1795-1869), a British naval officer and explorer who surveyed parts of the Australian coast.
  2. John McWilliams (1839-1914), an Irish-American architect known for designing several prominent buildings in New York City.
  3. Carey McWilliams (1905-1980), an American author and editor who wrote extensively on social and political issues in California.
  4. Jeremiah McWilliams (1712-1786), an Irish-born American soldier who served in the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War.
  5. Malcolm McWilliams (1891-1981), a Canadian politician who served as a member of the House of Commons of Canada.

The McWilliams surname has endured through the centuries, and its Scottish roots and rich history continue to be celebrated by those who bear this name today.

Race and ethnic origin of people with the last name McWilliams

We also have some data on the ancestry of people with the surname McWilliams.

The below race categories are the modified race categories used in the Census Bureau's population estimates program. All people were categorized into six mutually exclusive racial and Hispanic origin groups:

  1. White only
  2. Black only
  3. American Indian and Alaskan Native only
  4. Asian and Pacific Islander only
  5. Hispanic
  6. Two or More Races

For the most recent 2010 census data, the race/ethnic origin breakdown for McWilliams was:

Race/Ethnicity Percentage Total Occurrences
Non-Hispanic White Only 76.70% 15,741
Non-Hispanic Black Only 17.64% 3,620
Non-Hispanic Asian and Pacific Islander Only 0.56% 115
Non-Hispanic American Indian and Alaskan Native 0.62% 127
Non-Hispanic of Two or More Races 1.95% 400
Hispanic Origin 2.53% 519

Note: Any fields showing (S) means the data was suppressed for privacy so that the data does not in any way identify any specific individuals.

Since we have data from the previous census in 2000, we can also compare the values to see how the popularity of McWilliams has changed in the 10 years between the two census surveys.

2010 2000 Change (%)
White 76.70% 79.61% -3.72%
Black 17.64% 16.68% 5.59%
Asian and Pacific Islander 0.56% 0.39% 35.79%
American Indian and Alaskan Native 0.62% 0.47% 27.52%
Two or More Races 1.95% 1.24% 44.51%
Hispanic 2.53% 1.61% 44.44%

Data source

The last name data and ethnic breakdown of last names is sourced directly from the Decennial Census survey, conducted every 10 years by the United States Census Bureau.

The history and meaning of the name McWilliams was researched and written by our team of onomatology and genealogy experts.

If you have a correction or suggestion to improve the history of McWilliams, please contact us.

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If you found the data or information on this page useful in your research, please use the tool below to properly cite or reference Name Census as the source. We appreciate your support!

"McWilliams last name popularity, history, and meaning". NameCensus.com. Accessed on July 13, 2024. http://namecensus.com/last-names/mcwilliams-surname-popularity/.

"McWilliams last name popularity, history, and meaning". NameCensus.com, http://namecensus.com/last-names/mcwilliams-surname-popularity/. Accessed 13 July, 2024

McWilliams last name popularity, history, and meaning. NameCensus.com. Retrieved from http://namecensus.com/last-names/mcwilliams-surname-popularity/.

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